Author Topic: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference  (Read 1100 times)

Steven W Bohler

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LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« on: September 14, 2019, 10:01:53 AM »
The Rural and Small Town Ministry Conference is being held in Minneapolis in mid-November.  I have never attended but am considering it this year, as it is relatively close ( I usually go the Good Shepherd Institute at the Fort Wayne seminary in November).  Has anyone any experience with it?  Is it a large group?  How helpful did you find it?  Anyone planning on attending this particular event (apparently there will not be one in 2020, or maybe in years to come at all)?

Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2019, 12:37:17 PM »
Although unqualified to comment, I am qualified to ask why there wouldn't be a similar event in 2020 or at all in the future?

Secondly, the image of the rural pastors' conference that sticks eternally is from Lake Woebegone and Garrison Keillor - Pastor Ingqvist's Trip to Orlando, where the parishioners try (and succeed to some degree) to guilt trip good Minnesota Pastor Ingqvist out of attending the rural pastors' conference, since it's in a warm place at a cold time of year.  Surely your parishioners wouldn't do that to you in near-North Dakota Crookston for going to the Twin Cities, would they?

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Steven W Bohler

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 05:23:23 PM »
Although unqualified to comment, I am qualified to ask why there wouldn't be a similar event in 2020 or at all in the future?

Secondly, the image of the rural pastors' conference that sticks eternally is from Lake Woebegone and Garrison Keillor - Pastor Ingqvist's Trip to Orlando, where the parishioners try (and succeed to some degree) to guilt trip good Minnesota Pastor Ingqvist out of attending the rural pastors' conference, since it's in a warm place at a cold time of year.  Surely your parishioners wouldn't do that to you in near-North Dakota Crookston for going to the Twin Cities, would they?

Dave Benke

1. From our district's newsletter and its announcement of this conference: "We’ve been told there will most likely not be a 2020 RSTM National Conference, so don’t miss 2019 and let it be known if you want this valuable resource back!"  I do not know the reasons why -- or even if it is true. 

2. No, our congregations are pretty generous when it comes to conferences.  Sometimes I wonder if they just want a break from me!

3. One of the reasons I am considering this conference instead of the Good Shepherd Institute at the FW seminary is that I figure the cost would be substantially less. Fort Wayne hotels on Priceline seem to be a bit more than in past years but I can get a nicer room in the Twin Cities for about 25% less than a Fort Wayne room. 

4. I have only missed one or two conferences of the Good Shepherd Institute since it started; if/when I skip a session there, I sit in on a seminary class.  So I know what content I would get there.  But the Rural/Small Town Ministry conference is pretty much an unknown to me.  So, I was hoping for some guidance from those who were more familiar with it.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2019, 06:02:56 PM »
I enjoyed serving in a small town congregation for my first call. I wonder how the denominational decline plays in the small town/rural, suburban, and urban demographics. Where are the closures and new starts?
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Dave Likeness

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2019, 06:14:54 PM »
Ed, when you call Roanoke, Illinois a small town, you are using inflated nomenclature.
Actually, Roanoke has always been considered and called a village.  In the 2010 census
they had a population of 2, 065.   Continued blessings on your ministry in Ohio.

D. Engebretson

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2019, 08:05:52 PM »
I attended the very first conference, which I believe was in Kansas.  The North Wisconsin District president allotted $400 for me and one other pastor to go.  We drove there together, lived on the cheap, and came within budget.

I don't remember too much about the conference, which may say something in itself.  Thinking back it didn't seem to have any significant impact on my own rural ministry at the time.  Before going again I would want to see who the plenary speaker was and what sectionals they were offering.  Rural ministry deserves attention, especially now in this time of transition.  At our last Board of Director's meeting at the district office the president gave each of us the book The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America by Glenn Daman, which we are going to discuss in November.  It's a Moody Publishers book, but so far the first 90 or so pages that I've read have been interesting and informative.  He tries to analyze the unique particulars of rural culture and rural church life from the vantage point that rural ministry is worth pursuing even though it doesn't fit the picture of the growing suburban megachurch that is always touted as the ideal.  I appreciate that since some pastors want to 'move up' to the bigger church in the more populated areas and avoid the challenges of the smaller, rural church. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 08:08:38 PM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Steven W Bohler

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019, 08:37:25 PM »
I attended the very first conference, which I believe was in Kansas.  The North Wisconsin District president allotted $400 for me and one other pastor to go.  We drove there together, lived on the cheap, and came within budget.

I don't remember too much about the conference, which may say something in itself.  Thinking back it didn't seem to have any significant impact on my own rural ministry at the time.  Before going again I would want to see who the plenary speaker was and what sectionals they were offering.  Rural ministry deserves attention, especially now in this time of transition.  At our last Board of Director's meeting at the district office the president gave each of us the book The Forgotten Church: Why Rural Ministry Matters for Every Church in America by Glenn Daman, which we are going to discuss in November.  It's a Moody Publishers book, but so far the first 90 or so pages that I've read have been interesting and informative.  He tries to analyze the unique particulars of rural culture and rural church life from the vantage point that rural ministry is worth pursuing even though it doesn't fit the picture of the growing suburban megachurch that is always touted as the ideal.  I appreciate that since some pastors want to 'move up' to the bigger church in the more populated areas and avoid the challenges of the smaller, rural church.

Thanks for that assessment, Rev. Engebretson.  At this point, I am leaning towards attending this conference rather than the Good Shepherd Institute at the Fort Wayne seminary (I will miss visiting CTS though!).  Part of the reason is that I figure I can do so for about 2/3 the cost of the GSI.  But, along with that, there were some sectionals that sounded helpful and/or interesting.  All of my ministry (26 years, plus vicarage) has been in rural/small town settings and I enjoy being in such a setting.  Our MN North district, we are told over and over, is the most rural of all LCMS districts so I am hoping that there will be other Minnesota pastors attending. 

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2019, 09:45:53 PM »
Ed, when you call Roanoke, Illinois a small town, you are using inflated nomenclature.
Actually, Roanoke has always been considered and called a village.  In the 2010 census
they had a population of 2, 065.   Continued blessings on your ministry in Ohio.

Seems like a distinction without a different. Having lived in Roanoke, the locals comfortably used the word town.

The Lord continues to bless the work in Columbus. Started youth catechism this week. Will receive three adult members in the next few weeks. Just home from Bible Study where the folks were sharing fond memories of calling me here as their pastor. God be praised and thanked.
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Jeremy Loesch

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2019, 08:51:04 AM »
I've worked with Pastor Todd Kollbaum a bit.  RSTM's office is located at St. Paul's HS in Concordia MO.  (He was the director but has now taken a call to a church in NE or IA.)  He was a genial, committed man and very helpful.  While it wasn't necessarily RSTM-specific, he stuck to the basics which I thought was helpful for the group he was working with.  I have heard good things about the annual conferences.  And I think with a lot of conferences, you get out what you put into it. 

Jeremy
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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2019, 09:29:36 AM »
I've worked with Pastor Todd Kollbaum a bit.  RSTM's office is located at St. Paul's HS in Concordia MO.  (He was the director but has now taken a call to a church in NE or IA.)  He was a genial, committed man and very helpful.  While it wasn't necessarily RSTM-specific, he stuck to the basics which I thought was helpful for the group he was working with.  I have heard good things about the annual conferences.  And I think with a lot of conferences, you get out what you put into it. 

Jeremy
Pr Kollbaum is still the director, but the offices are staying in Concordia — his new parish was happy to let him continue to do his RSTM work via distance. The conferences have been good especially for networking and finding others in similar locales with whom to share experiences and ideas.

Dave Benke

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Re: LCMS Rural/Small Town Ministry Conference
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2019, 09:45:35 AM »
I've worked with Pastor Todd Kollbaum a bit.  RSTM's office is located at St. Paul's HS in Concordia MO.  (He was the director but has now taken a call to a church in NE or IA.)  He was a genial, committed man and very helpful.  While it wasn't necessarily RSTM-specific, he stuck to the basics which I thought was helpful for the group he was working with.  I have heard good things about the annual conferences.  And I think with a lot of conferences, you get out what you put into it. 

Jeremy
Pr Kollbaum is still the director, but the offices are staying in Concordia — his new parish was happy to let him continue to do his RSTM work via distance. The conferences have been good especially for networking and finding others in similar locales with whom to share experiences and ideas.

This was exactly what I took from the urban conferences the synod held through the years.  The true value is not really as an academic course - it's a chance to network with folks who are going through similar mission and ministry experiences, developing relationships and listening for opportunities and ways to do the work through good and difficult times.  At pastoral conferences, for instance, the guys in the larger congregations needed to be with their counterparts, and those of us in the city needed to get with our brothers in that mix - mutual consolation stuff.

Dave Benke